Dr. Sarah E. Sharbach Memorial Scholarship
Criteria: (Amount Equivalent to Full Annual Tuition) The Dr. Sarah E. Sharbach Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a student who has financial need and a demonstrated passion for social justice. Preference will be given to women of color.
The late Dr. Sarah E. Sharbach began teaching history at Worcester State University in the fall of 1999. She enlivened her department with courses in Latin and Native American Studies as well as traditional courses in U.S. history. Reaching out to students, she taught them to understand the oppression that our native cultures have faced. She revealed the perspective of the oppressed and helped students to move beyond simplistic notions of Native and Latin Americans, women, and the indigenous people of Central and South America and the Caribbean. Her students respected her for the gentle way she challenged them to have a deeper understanding of issues of social justice. She stressed the importance of nuance, subtlety and complexity by bringing to light marginalized discourses and helping students to understand fully the contests over who gets to interpret history.
Dr. Sharbach earned a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle. As a scholar, her book Stereotypes of Latin America, Press Images, and U.S. Foreign Policy, 1920-1933 (Modern American History New Studies and Outstanding Dissertations) was important in highlighting the ways in which negative images of Latin Americans are perpetuated by the media. She visited the Hyde Park home and archives of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and collected material for a work on the Roosevelt administration’s relations with Cuba.
Dr. Sharbach’s service to the community was exemplary. During her time at Worcester State, she initiated a number of events on human rights abuses and violence. Additionally she was a member of the Center for Human Rights Steering Committee, a founding member of the Diversity Advisory Committee, and curriculum coordinator for the Women’s Studies Program.
Dr. Sharbach’s advocacy was always in evidence through her teaching, scholarship and travels, and in conversation with colleagues, students and friends. She challenged those around her to rethink doctrinaire points of view, and she did this cheerfully and with a sense of mischief. She lived out her values and beliefs in her thoughtfulness about everyday life.
Dr. Sharbach’s commitment to the University even continued after she learned that she had breast cancer in the fall of 2001. Her passion for teaching persisted during her treatments, as did her dedication to her friends and family. She passed away in January 2004, but is remembered by all who had the good fortune to know her.
As Sarah Sharbach touched the lives of many of us throughout the college community through her teaching, scholarship, advocacy and friendship, this scholarship is designed to continue her legacy of passion for social justice.